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Psalms: Psalms 1-41 Hardcover – Nov 1 2006
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From the Inside Flap
"Pastors will benefit from Goldingay's lucid discussion of interpretive issues, which is always informed by the faith of the church. Scholars will be well served by the insightful textual notes and extensive bibliography. In sum, this volume is a welcome resource for the study of the Psalms from which many different readers may glean."
--Jerome F. D. Creach, Robert C. Holland Professor of Old Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
"John Goldingay has come to this commentary on Psalms 1-41 after extensive work in other areas of biblical study. He has written a major commentary that incorporates solid, mainline scholarship, and it belongs with leading commentaries on the Psalter. His readers will find him to be a competent, mature, and careful guide in interpreting the Psalms. I recommend his work, and I look forward to further commentary from him."
--Marvin E. Tate, senior professor of Old Testament, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Writing with a scholar's eye and a pastor's heart, Goldingay considers the literary, historical, and grammatical dimensions of the text as well as its theological implications. The resulting commentary will bring the Psalms to life for a new generation of students.
In addition to the commentary on Psalms 1-41, this volume contains Goldingay's introduction to the entire book of Psalms. This thorough introduction provides unique perspectives on matters such as the purpose of the Psalter, Psalms and history, poetry in the Psalms, the Psalms and worship, the Psalms and spirituality, and the Psalms and theology. Each chapter of the commentary proper contains the author's translation of a particular psalm, which shows in English some of the salient features of the Hebrew text. An interpretation of the psalm, section-by-section, follows. Also included is an extensive glossary section treating the vocabulary of Psalms 1-41 and noting how certain words are used to convey critical concepts. The discussion of each Psalm ends with a section on theological implications that will help readers discover the contemporary relevance of the message of the Psalms.
From the Back Cover
In this first volume of a three-volume commentary on the book of Psalms, Old Testament scholar John Goldingay provides a lucid introduction to the Psalter and fresh commentary on Psalms 1-41.
This is the third volume in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series. The series is tailored to the distinctives of poetry and wisdom literature, featuring emphasis on the message of the biblical book; special attention to poetic structure and literary devices; incisive comments based on the author's translation of the Hebrew text; exegetical rigor that incorporates linguistic, historical, and canonical insights; closing reflections on each section that explore the text's theological dimensions; and textual notes that provide resources for advanced readers.
"One of our premier interpreters, John Goldingay, offers here a comprehensive treatment of the Psalms. Rarely does one find such a combination of close attention to grammatical and syntactical features joined with literary sensitivity, and all of it aimed at theological appropriation of the Psalms. Don't be surprised to find Anne Lamott alongside Luther, Calvin, Aquinas, and Isaac Watts. A basic resource for studying the Psalms."
--Patrick D. Miller, professor of Old Testament theology emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary
"This is a fine commentary on the first part of the book of Psalms, combining excellent scholarship and deep, practical spiritual reflection. Readers will find it to be an invaluable resource for their own life-journeys, not least in the constructive challenge it presents to some modern Christian understandings of biblical spirituality."
--Iain Provan, Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies, Regent College
"Once again, John Goldingay has given us exemplary scholarship that will serve both church and academy very well indeed. The commentary is filled with mature theological insights, fresh ideas, and thoughtful reflections for contemporary appropriation. The clear and imaginative introduction alone is worth the price of the book."
--Terence E. Fretheim, Elva B. Lovell Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The forthcoming (single?) volume on the Psalms for NICOT will most likely not be able to hold a candle to Goldingay's trilogy. Hopefully, these volumes will compel the NICOT editors to publish three equally thorough commentaries on the Psalter instead of a mere single volume. Highly recommended!!!!
Goldingay's three volume commentary on the psalms is a scholarly resource when it comes to studying the psalter. In these commentaries, he discusses the textual, syntactical, and structural details of each psalm, as well as the (probable) historical context. There is a short glossary at the end of each volume which is helpful if the reader needs a brief definition of key terms in the psalms. Goldingay has utilized many different medieval, reformation, and modern commentaries on the psalms which helps make this set useful in some regards. Those are the strong points.
I do, however, have two major critiques of this commentary set that have to do with Goldingay's interpretive methodology.
First, Goldingay does not read the psalms from a NT point of view. In other words, these commentaries are not redemptive-historical or biblical-theological in any sense of the term. In fact, in the introduction (to vol. 1) he explicitly states that he does not "make the NT the filter or lens" through which he reads the psalms. He says reading the psalms through the lens of the NT silences the psalms' theology and spirituality. Of course, some may agree with Goldingay's methodology here; I simply want to point it out in case the reader is looking for a commentary that deals with how the NT ties into the psalms. This commentary series does not do that at all; in fact, the scripture indexes at the end of each volume only have a few references to NT passages.
The second major critique I have of this commentary set ties in with the previous one: Goldingay does not read the psalms as messianic, eschatological, or forward looking. For example, commenting on psalm 8 he writes that the psalm "does not refer to the Messiah." In his notes on psalm 22, Goldingay says "it is not a prophecy. The Messiah is not the primary referent of this text. The NT `wrenches it out of its setting.'" For psalm 110 he suggests linking the psalm to Jesus is to "ignore its meaning." In other words, Goldingay does not approach the psalter like the apostles did.
For these two reasons, I believe this commentary series is not helpful. Goldingay's "un-messianic" methodology also shows up in his application sections. He basically moralizes the psalms away by applying them to our setting without mentioning the NT, Jesus, the cross, or the resurrection. Time and again as I was reading his comments on many different psalms I was utterly frustrated by bare textual notes and odd gospel-less application. Every application just felt flat to me. If you believe the psalms are messianic, eschatological, and if you believe the apostles interpreted the psalms correctly (with Jesus at the center), you will most likely be quite disappointed with this series. In summary, I don't recommend this commentary set because it has very little to do with Jesus.
By the way, if you are looking for a better discussion of the psalms that do center on Jesus, check out Richard Belcher's "The Messiah and the Psalms," Geerhardus Vos' article "The Eschatology of the Psalter," Tremper Longman's "How to Read the Psalms," Mark Futato's "Interpreting the Psalms," the "NT Commentary on the OT" edited by Don Carson and Greg Beale, and of course Calvin and Luther's sermons and commentaries on the psalms (just to mention a few).
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